When the Writers Guild of America went on strike on May 2, soap fans worried about the future of their favorite daytime dramas. However, nearly two months later, it’s clear there was nothing to worry about there, as the union writers were simply replaced by non-union scab writers and some scribes went “fi-core” which means they give up their union benefits in order to continue working. However, the looming SAG-AFTRA strike had viewers worried anew because the soap stars are not as easily replaced as the writers were.
However, once again, there’s nothing to worry about. Although SAG-AFTRA members voted overwhelmingly in favor of striking when their current contract is up on Friday, June 30, this does not actually affect the actors on the daytime soaps. Daytime actors are employed under the SAG-AFTRA National Code of Fair Practice for Television Broadcasting (aka Network Code). This covers soaps as well as morning news shows, talk shows, variety shows, reality shows, game shows, and sports. The current Network Code agreement goes through July 2024.
“I’ve been a member of SAG and AFTRA, now SAG-AFTRA, since 1976,” GENERAL HOSPITAL star Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis) tweeted. “I fully support the WGA strike and voted to authorize a SAG-AFTRA strike. It pained me to cross a picket line on Wednesday. I pulled over and explained that I work under Netcode (a contract I’ve many issues with but must abide by).
“We’re required to work regardless of actor strike or be in breach of contract,” she explained. “Daytime actors pay top-tier dues. As much as say, TED LASSO cast and SUCCESSION cast, who make infinitely more than us, and yet most of us voted to strike due to fairness to the greater good and because we believe in unions. We believe with some exceptions in ours. We believe that what the writers and actors are asking for is correct and just. I stand by the WGA and SAG-AFTRA in these current negotiations. And every day I must go to work I know that thousands of others cannot while they sacrifice their collective livings for what is right and just. I will continue to post on their behalf and walk with them because short of that, right now, it’s all that I know how to do.”
So soap fans can take heart that their favorite dramas will continue uninterrupted for now. And hopefully, by the time their contracts come up for renewal next year, deals will have been struck with the WGA and SAG-AFTRA, meaning no strike will be necessary to renegotiate their contract in 2024.